U.S. pilot killed in F-18 crash in Iraq
Search teams have found the body of a U.S. Marine pilot whose F-18 crashed in Iraq, but a second warplane is still missing, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.
The two F-18s disappeared on Monday night while flying missions from the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson, which is based in the Gulf off southern Iraq.
Washington hopes to reduce its losses in Iraq by pulling out troops, but that is unlikely to happen until Iraqi forces prove they can secure the country, particularly hotspots like Qaim, near the Syrian border, where U.S. forces killed 12 suspected insurgents in a firefight and bombing on Monday.
The U.S. military said six soldiers were wounded in the fight near the border against suspected members of al Qaeda's wing in Iraq, which is headed by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
American soldiers killed nine insurgents and three people were killed by a coalition airstrike, the military said. A six-year-old girl and a guerrilla were wounded in the battle.
The millions of Iraqis who braved suicide bombs to vote in the Jan. 30 elections hoped they would be rewarded by new leaders who would improve their security forces.
But it took haggling politicians three months to form a partial cabinet, emboldening insurgents who have stepped up attacks since the government was formed. That government, still not fully formed, was expected to be sworn in later on Tuesday.
Car and roadside bombs have killed nearly 150 Iraqis and wounded around 200 since the cabinet was announced six days ago, constituting Iraq's first democratically elected government since Saddam Hussein's overthrow.